Arrested member of the Ndrangheta
Today we will continue the story started in the article Calabrian Ndrangheta... Let's talk about clan wars, Calabrian families outside Italy, the state of affairs in modern Ndrangheta.
"The first war of the Ndrangheta"
By the early 70s, the most authoritative in Calabria were the three "families", the heads of which were reverently called Padrino ("father").
The first of them, led by Domenico Tripodo, controlled the city of Reggio di Calabrio. Domenico was considered a friend of Salvatore Riina, the head of the Sicilian Corleonesi clan.
The second was "held in hand" by Siderno, headed by Antonio Macri.
The "possession" of the third family (capobastone - Girolamo Pyromalli, nicknamed Mommo) was the port city of Gioia Tauro, the largest port in Italy in terms of container traffic.
Girolamo Piromalli, March 1973
In 1974, the "war" (faid) began, in which the Tripodo and Macri clans opposed the Pyromalli clan and the De Stefano "family" allied to him (which had grown stronger after the union with Ndrina Cataldo from Locri). The reason was the conflict of interest around the contracts for the reconstruction of the port of Joya Tauro. The heads of the allied clans Girolamo Piromalli and Giorgio De Stefano believed that they themselves would cope with all these matters perfectly, and their respected "colleagues" had nothing to worry about. However, the neighbors believed that "there is enough for everyone", and indeed, being greedy is bad, "it is necessary to share."
This faid entered history called "The First War of the Ndrangheta" and lasted until 1977. The victims were 233 people, including several police officers.
Initially, success was accompanied by the "Don" people of Reggio di Calabrio and Siderno: the head of the De Stefano clan, Giorgio, was wounded and his brother Giovanni was killed. But in 1975, De Stefano's men shot and killed Antonio Macri (among the "killers" was the future drug king Ndrangheta Pasquale Condello, who was mentioned in the last article - Calabrian Ndrangheta).
And Domenico Tripodi, who was serving time in Poggio Reale prison, was killed by the Closed Skies activists Raffaele Cutolo (who was described in the article New Camorra and Sacra Corona Unita structures). The services of his Camorrists, Cutolo estimated at 100 million lire, but it was worth it: Reggio di Calabrio came under the control of the De Stefano clan. It was the Pyromalli and De Stefano clans who later initiated the creation of "La Santa" - the internal organization of the Ndrangheta, which was described in the article Calabrian Ndrangheta.
Giorgio De Stefano did not enjoy success for long: in 1977, he was killed by members of their clan, who then theatrically presented a silver dish with his head to the new capobastone - Paolo.
Paolo de stefano
"The second war of the Ndrangheta"
Paolo De Stefano was killed in 1985 when a new "faid" ("Second War of the Ndrangheta") began - this time with the "family" of Imerti. This "war" ended only in 1991, more than 700 people became its victims. Sicilian mafiosi acted as intermediaries in the conclusion of the "peace treaty".
Girolamo Piromalli died a natural death in 1979 and more than 6 thousand people attended his funeral.
Ndrangheta's new business
In the 80s, some of the Ndrangheta families took part in the smuggling of nuclear waste from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, France and even the United States to Somalia, where illegal burials of radioactive materials were arranged. After the collapse of Yugoslavia, Ndrangheta began to buy weapon on the territory of the former republics, reselling it both in Europe and abroad.
Shooting in Duisburg
The Calabrian "family" of Strandzha-Nirta "became famous" in the German city of Duisburg. Here, outside the Italian restaurant Da Bruno, on May 17, 2007, her Picciotto d'onore was killed by six people belonging to the rival Pelle-Votari clan. At the place of the execution, an image of the Archangel Michael was found (you remember that he is considered the patron saint of the Ndrangheta).
These were echoes of a clan war that began in the Calabrian city of San Luca back in 1991. In 2000, a truce was concluded through the mediation of the leaders of the De Stefano "family", which was broken in 2005. Before the shooting in Duisburg in Calabria, 5 people were killed and 8 injured.
The crime in Duisburg caused such a resonance that investigators from Italy and the Netherlands joined in the investigation of this case. In 2008, the heads of the opposing clans - Antonio Pelle and Giuseppe Nirta were found and arrested in Italy.
Arrest of Antonio Pelle. We remember that he was the "evangelist" and the head of "Santa"
Arrested Giuseppe Nirta
In March 2009, in one of the suburbs of Amsterdam (Diemen), Giovanni Strandzhi, one of the murderers of his clan, who shot rivals in Duisburg, was arrested. Prior to this crime, by the way, he was the manager of the "Tonis-Pizza" company in the German city of Karst.
This "war" was stopped with the mediation of Antonio Nirta (previously he also mediated peace between the Imerti and De Stefano families), who was nicknamed "clan diplomat" and "mafia mediator" for his services as a negotiator.
The last war of the Ndrangheta
In 2008, the last known war of the Calabrian clans began, in which 9 "families" took part. During this faid, several hundred people died, and it ended only in 2013 - after a series of police operations that drained the howling clans.
Calabrian Ndrins outside Italy
On the initiative of Antonio Nirta, already known to us, new structural units of the Ndrangheta were created - "Crimine i provincia". And in 1991 Calabria was divided into 3 territories: La Piana, La Montagna, La Citta. Then they were joined by the "provinces" "Liguria", "Lombardy" and "Canada". Some also speak of the "province of Australia".
Crimine i provincia
In 1933, the ndrina Serraino Di Giovine was practically destroyed by the authorities in Reggio di Calabrio. The remnants of the family moved to Milan in 1960, taking control of the area around Piazza Prealpi. The "Refugees" were headed by Maria Serrano. Under her leadership, the new ndrina began smuggling cigarettes, buying and reselling stolen property. And in the 1970s, this "family" "matured" already to the arms and drug trade. Maria's son, Emilio Di Giovine, founded the "family" branch in Spain, taking over drugs from Morocco to England and from Colombia to Milan.
In Canada, the first Calabrian ndrins were recorded back in 1911 - in the cities of Hamilton and Ontario. Some members of the aforementioned Macri clan, after their defeat in the Faida, also fled to Canada, where they founded a new and very successful branch of their "family" in Toronto. In this country, Calabrian families actively cooperate with cross-border Indian tribes in the supply of drugs.
The Calabrian ndrins also reached Australia, where they first declared themselves in Queensland - it is in this city and in its vicinity that many Italian emigrants traditionally live. Here, after the murder of policeman James Clarke in December 1925, Australia's first high-profile trial of members of the Ndrangheta took place. The main defendant, Domenico Candello, was then acquitted, which caused violent indignation among the public in Queensland. And in 1989, in Canberra, even Australian Federal Police Deputy Colin Winchester was killed by members of the Ndrangheta.
In June 2008, a 150 kg consignment of cocaine was seized at the port of Melbourne. In August of the same year, a shipment of 15 million ecstasy tablets was arrested here from Calabria in containers with cans of canned tomatoes.
Ecstasy pills in tomato cans
These shipments belonged to Ndrina Barbaro, part of a Calabrian clan based in the Plati commune, nicknamed in Italy the "Cradle of Abductions".
Immigrants from other Calabrian "families" settled in Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, USA, Colombia and some other countries.
Luigio Bonaventura, one of the members of the Ndrangheta who went to cooperate with law enforcement agencies, argued in his testimony that two or three people are enough to found a new ndrina, who very soon organize a full-fledged separation of their family. He also reported that the Calabrian clans:
“They keep money in Switzerland, they own luxury villas on the French Riviera, control ports in Holland and Belgium, control drug traffic in the Balkans, and invest in the tourism sector in Bulgaria. It is easy to understand in which direction the Ndrangheta is developing, it is enough to follow where you can earn more. "
In an interview, the head of the German Federal Police Service Jörg Cirke said:
“Half of the criminal groups identified in Germany belong to the Ndrangheta. It is the largest criminal group since the 1980s. Compared to other groups operating in Germany, Italians have the most powerful organization. "
In 2009, 229 Calabrian ndrins were counted in Germany, the largest of which consisted of about 200 people (these were just people from the already familiar city of San Luca).
The ndrin positions are very strong in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Brussels. In Malta, the Calabrians owned 21 gambling houses, whose activities were suspended in 2016 after it turned out that Lawrence Gonzi, the son of the former Prime Minister of this island state, actively collaborated with Ndrangheta.
Comfortable bunkers in Calabria
From the article Camorra: myths and reality we remember that many Neapolitan gang leaders live in poor areas of this city. And the Calabrian "dons", whose financial interests extend to the territory of more than 30 countries, often continue to live in their native villages. Here they have equipped comfortable bunkers for themselves, the entrance to which can begin in the basement of a poor house, in a mountain cave, or in an orange grove on some hill.
Italian police at the entrance to one of Ndragneta's bunkers, May 2011
Entrance to one of the Ndrangheta bunkers, found in January 2016
In one of these bunkers, Giuseppe Aquino, the head of ndrina Coluccio, who controlled the city of Marina di Giosa Ionica, was hiding from the police for more than 2 years.
Arrest of Giuseppe Aquino
In an underground bunker that looks like a five-star hotel room, Antonio Pelle, the head of the Votari clan, whom we mentioned when we talked about the shooting of his subordinates in Duisburg, was discovered and arrested.
Also in a bunker located in the Calabrian village of Benestar, another leader of this clan, Santo Votari, was discovered.
But the “underground fortress” of the already mentioned Barbaro clan in the Calabrian commune of Plati was especially shocked by the imagination of the police: its tunnels had many exits to city houses and to the forest, and some of them were so wide that a truck could pass through them.
Currently, the bosses of the Ndrangheta strive to look respectable and socially responsible businessmen. They reasoned sensibly that high-profile violent actions and executions attract the attention of both the authorities and journalists, while big money "likes silence." Weapons are now deployed in the most extreme cases. New wars instead of killers are now increasingly being waged by no less cruel and merciless lawyers and lawyers.
The effectiveness of the "business models" of modern Ndrangheta is such that one of its bosses, Francesco Raji, after being arrested, accused the Italian government of increasing the number of unemployed and poor people in the country. He stated that
"The Italian state demonstrates its inability to put things in order in the sphere of the national economy and social projects."
As an example of inadequate economic policy of the state, he cited the situation in the capital of Campania:
"What was the cost of the stubbornness of the authorities of Naples, who did not want to make concessions to businessmen and, thus, turned the city into one big trash heap?"
Raji was referring to one of the protracted "garbage wars" of the city halls of Naples and Camorra, which controlled the collection and disposal of garbage in this city.
A little bit about "garbage wars" was told in the article. New Camorra and Sacra Corona Unita structures.
Calabria is a different matter, said Raji:
"In the territories controlled by us (Ndrangheta), we have solved the problem of poverty and unemployment."
And he offered the government a "mutually beneficial alliance", help Ndrangheta in the implementation of economic and social programs. Of course, the Italian authorities did not agree to cooperate with a criminal "mafia-type organization" (this is the official wording applied to the Ndrangheta since March 30, 2010). Moreover, this country has now made great strides in the fight against organized crime.
Back in 1991, an anti-mafia law was passed in Italy, thanks to which, by 2013, 58 administrations were disbanded in different cities of Italy - mainly in Calabria, but also in Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria.
So, on October 9, 2012, on charges of having links with Ndrangheta, the city council of Reggio Calabria was dissolved - 30 people, headed by the mayor of the city.
In June 2014, Pope Francis visited the Calabrian town of Cassano al Ionio. Among other things, he excommunicated members of the local families of the Ndrangheta from the Church - all in a crowd, without specifying their names and addresses: apparently, he decided that they were already known to God.
In 2017, the mayors of the cities of Avetrana (Apulia) and Erquie (province of Salerno) were arrested for cooperation with Ndrangheta.
On January 9, 2018, 169 representatives of the Calabrian clans Farao and Marincola were arrested during a joint operation by Italian and German law enforcement agencies. According to the investigation, the Calabrians forced the owners of German hotels, restaurants, pizzerias and ice cream parlors to make purchases in Italian companies controlled by them. In Italy itself, the Farao clan owned bakeries, vineyards, olive groves, and also controlled the funeral services market, self-service laundries, plastic processing plants and even shipyards.
In the same year, a joint operation was carried out by police officers from Belgium, the Netherlands and Colombia, during which 90 Calabrians were arrested, led by a representative of the already known Pelle-Votari clan - Giuseppe.
Arrest of Giuseppe Pelle
Finally, on January 13, 2021, in the Calabrian city of Lamezia Terme, an online trial began against the arrested members of the Calabrian Mancuso clan, whose sphere of influence is the province of Vibo Valentia.
Online court hearing in Lamezia Terme, 13 January 2021
This trial even got its own name - "Renaissance". One of the organizers of this process, prosecutor Nikola Gratteri, has been living under state protection for over 30 years.
Prosecutor Nikola Gratteri
The number of defendants in this trial is 355 people, including the head of the clan, Luigi Mancuso. Other defendants include a city police chief, a former senator, regional politicians, lawyers, and businessmen. Most of them were arrested in Italy, others in Germany, Switzerland and Bulgaria. Some of those arrested are members of the Sicilian Mafia and the Apulian Sacra Corona Unita.
It is curious that a member of one of the Ndrangheta clans was the father of the famous Italian footballer Vincenze Iaquinta, the 2006 world champion (40 caps for the national team). Giuseppe Iaquinta received 19 years in prison, and Vincente was sentenced on October 31, 2018 to two years in prison for illegal possession of firearms.
And in March 2021, there was a message about the arrest of 56-year-old Nella Serpa, nicknamed "Blonde", who led one of the Ndrangheta clans since 2003 - after the death of her brother. Together with her, 58 of her subordinates were arrested. Earlier, 250 members of the same clan were detained.
However, there is still a long way to go before a complete victory over the “many-headed” Ndrangheta.